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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1874

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-17 PDF (6.6 MB)

Page 9

It will be seen by the report of the commissioners appointed to nego. 
tiate at Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies for the relinquishment 
of the privilege secured to the Sioux by the treaty of 1868 to hunt in 
Nebraska, and to find a suitable location for the Spotted Tail agency, 
that the purpose of the commission was not fully accomplished; but it 
is expected, as the result of their conference, that the Indians, in consid-
eration of $25,000 offered in exchange, will yet consent to the relinquish-
ment of the privilege of hunting south of the Niobrara, in Nebraska. 
Their right to roam over Wyoming also still exists according to treaty. 
Probably an inquiry as to the strict observance of treaty stipulations 
by the Sioux would reveal the fact that, long since, by committing depre-
dations and refusing to point out or deliver up the depredators, they 
have violated some of the most important provisions of their treaty, and
that the Government, if so disposed, could find justification for declaring
the treaty abrogated, and thus compel the Sioux to remain within their 
reservation. The object desired, however, can, in my judgment, be more 
readily and economically attained by purchasing the relinquishment of 
this right of roaming. 
The attempt of the commission to find a suitable location for the 
Spotted Tail agency confirms the opinion heretofore entertained as to the
general barrenness of this reservation. The site selected-and the only 
one found after long and wide searching at all desirable or practicable 
for locating the Indians with a view to their civilization-is in the State
of Nebraska, ten miles from the southern line of Dakota. Both the Red 
Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies are now without the limits of the res- 
ervation, being situated on a portion of Nebraska reserved by treaty 
for the exclusive use of the Indians. It will be largely for the advan- 
tage both of the Government and Indians if the southern divide of the 
Niobrara tiver can be made the boundary of their permanent reserva- 
tion in place of the southern line of Dakota. Besides affording a nat- 
ural boundary, instead of an imaginary line not easily distinguished by 
Indians, this would furnish a country suited to an experiment in Indian 
agriculture and herding. 
If this country is not retained, the alternative is the entire and per- 
petual support of a large number of the Sioux by the annual appropri- 
ations until under the slow but certain process of demoralization the 
tribe shall become extinct. This will require several generations and 
millions of money. For this reason I regard the retention of this por- 
tion of Nebraska for Indian purposes as absolutely essential to any 
humane or economical plan for the care of the Sioux. 
The apprehension expressed in my last annual report, that without 
calling for vigorous operations by the military it would be impossible 
to put a stop to the constant and murderous raiding by Indians belong- 
ing in the southwestern portion of the Indian Territory, have been fully
realized. For several years past the Comanches and Cheyennes have 
not for any length of time fully ceased their raids. The Kiowas made 
a covenant never again to raid in Texas, and substantially observed it 
so long as the question of the release of their chiefs, Satanta and Rig 

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